Visiting Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula is the only place where I can ever feel truly relaxed. A place I can rest my weary jandals and unwind after any stresses.
Sunrise in Whangamata
For 25 years, I have been heading to the family beach bach (Kiwi slang for holiday accommodation) in Whangamata for water adventures. Snorkeling, surfing, and relaxing on the empty beaches with a good book are how the days are best filled.
Even as the car cruised along the winding black sticky tarmac, melting under the hot sun, I felt relaxed. They know what is to come over the coming summer days.
Especially as we drove nearer and nearer, it always became a competition between us boys to see who could spot the sparkling blue sea on the horizon first between the rolling farmland.
Luckily for such a beautiful spot, development on the Coromandel Peninsula is slow, and Whangamata hasn’t changed much in the 25 years that we have been visiting.
Sure the houses have got more extensive and more expensive. But you don’t have to scratch very far below the surface to find the small-town charm of New Zealand in Whangamata.
Small town Whangamata seen from the Clark Island lookout
Locals still stop their cars on the main street to chat through their windows, oblivious to the queue behind them. Not that anyone in the queue minds.
And if you pass someone on the beaches while walking the dog, then a friendly greeting you will receive.
If you even see another person strolling along the empty white sandy beaches, which stretch from the Harbour entrance in the north to the freshwater estuary mouth to the south.
It doesn’t take long to fall back into the easy lifestyle of the locals either. And even though I am there to relax, I don’t sleep in.
I wouldn’t want to miss the spectacular sunrises spread across the eastern skies. It brings warm summer breezes and blistering sun to make you run for some shade and ice cream in the afternoon.
Whether it is with a freshly waxed surfboard tucked under the arm or the boat’s launching over the sand, we are up early to make the most of our days.
If we are out on the boat, lunch is packed away for later. Sheltered and secluded beaches along the rocky coastline or on one island become our tablecloth. And the sun warms us up after spending too long chasing crayfish underwater.
While it should surprise me, even after all this time on the road, I still count myself lucky that I get to call New Zealand home. The only problem with visiting Whangamata and home is that it makes it quite hard to say goodbye.
Check out our Wentworth Falls photos if you want to go hiking in Whangamata.
Thanks to Moss Burmester for some of the photos.